Friday, 10 August 2012

African Hair

My hair transitioning journey
Two texture hair (natural root and relaxed edges
For more than three years, my Afro hair had been relaxed. I strictly followed a maintenance regimen that included protein and cholesterol treatment every two weeks and new growth retouching every 3 month after a month of on a protective style to rest the hair. This maintenance regime was costly and had to be done by a professional hair stylist so my Saloon visits were countless and part of monthly schedules.
On 19th January 2012, I got myself reflecting and eventually made a decision. I had just had my hair retouched with the relaxer on the new growth. My head ached badly. I realized my ‘professional stylist’ had not based my ever increasingly weak scalp properly and consequently the chemical had caused irritation all over my scalp. Besides, I had noticed that my once health and long hair strands were increasingly becoming weak and thin and my length had plateaued. In other words I was spending whooping amount of money on already damaged hair with a hope that it will look and grow better.  Someone once said “doing the same things and expecting different results is insanity”. So I thought if I needed healthy hair it was time to change. Besides what was I going to loose, my scalp was already weak and wounded, my hair damaged, my money spent, and even the color of my hair had deteriorated.

On that reflective evening, I asked myself two questions:

Q1. Why did I decide to relax my hair after years of healthy, long and dark natural hair that I loved and people around me did too? The best answer I could give to the question was simply peer pressure i.e. wanting to fit in and the altitude that everybody is doing it. As I reflected I realized that these are the justifications we give when we are afraid to face our own fears and low self-esteem. I told myself this is not the way I want my life to be i.e. out of my control and under control of others. I am not everybody else and I do not need to do anything to fit in. I am unique and proud of how God created me. In fact, I am sincerely grateful to God for creating me fearfully, wonderfully and beautiful. It couldn’t have been better.

Q2. What was so wrong with my natural hair to cause me to decide to relax it? My African hair is kinky alright, it is thick and bushy alright, and it feels hard and dry alright. I used these supposedly ‘bad qualities’ to justify the abuse I cause on my hair, instead of using them in creative way to bring the best out of my hair. By condemning my hair to harsh chemical I was like telling my hair, “you do not deserve me, I will make you permanently straight as I want because you look terrible hair and I do not like you”. As I reflected I realized how grossly ungrateful I had been, I wasn’t even thankful I had hair to begin with. Did God make a mistake to give me the genes for the kind of hair I have? I do not think so. Is my hair or any part of my body including my skin color a mistake? I do not think so. The African hair is probably the most unique type of hair God created. I think it costs nature more to make African hair than any other hair. The sulphate bonds that make it kinky allow it to be very versatile. It is possible to get as many styles as one would be willing to be creative from African hair.

Creativity is the solution we need for African hair. It has capacity to take braiding, twisting, curling and locking and etc. no other type of hair is this versatile. So what I tell all my friends is “take time to learn your hair, treat it nice and nurture it and be creative with it. Take time to learn how to maintain it and by all means let it free from cracks and harsh chemicals that damage it. You hair will be grateful to you and will respond by growing long and healthy”.

On that January night I decided to transit my hair from relaxed to natural state. It is now almost eight months. My hair now has two textures, the natural and relaxed tops but by learning from what others who have done transitioning did, I have succeeded to keep off the chemical cracks for eight months and my new growth is as healthy, thick and dark. This lifts my spirit every day and I tell myself it was a good decision I made. My Hubby likes it a lot too. My objective is after one year of transitioning, to cut off all relaxed edges and have it all natural for the rest of my life. In the upcoming posts I will share my Transitioning Hair Care Regimes and Products I use.